UAE-Israel ties: Jared Kushner witnesses MoU signing with Sharaka to support Abraham Accords

The Peace Institute and Sharaka agreed to mutually promote the economic and cultural ties among the Abraham Accords countries



Jared Kushner (middle) with Dr Majid Al Sarrah (right) and Amit Deri (left). Photo: Supplied
Jared Kushner (middle) with Dr Majid Al Sarrah (right) and Amit Deri (left). Photo: Supplied
by

Rasha Abu Baker

Published: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 1:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 8:13 PM

The leaders of the Abraham Accords Peace Institute (AAPI) and Sharaka, came together in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to sign a cooperation agreement in the presence of AAPI Chairman and former senior presidential advisor Jared Kushner.

The MoU was signed at Emirates Palace by Robert Greenway, Executive Director and President of the Abraham Accords Peace Inst, and Amit Deri, the Israeli co-founder and CEO of Sharaka. Emirati co-founder of Sharaka and UAE CEO, Dr. Majid Al Sarrah was also in attendance as were senior members of the AAPI, Sharaka, and senior figures in the Emirati policy community.

Speaking following the signing, Jared Kushner said of the Abraham Accords, "It's touching for me to see how it has expanded and touching so many people here in the region."

He added that people have been travelling back and forth between the UAE and Israel, sharing their experiences and that it has been "a very natural relationship."

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

The Peace Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan U.S. organisation dedicated to supporting the implementation and expansion of the historic peace agreements, and Sharaka, which means 'partnership', also a non-profit, non-partisan organisation founded by young leaders from Israel and the Gulf, agreed to mutually promote the economic and cultural ties among the Abraham Accords countries and identify and pursue ways to build upon the Accords.

Together, the sides will work to identify influencers from the Abraham Accords countries in the media, society, academia, business, and other fields and bring them on mutual visits – Israelis to the Arab world and people from the Arab world to Israel.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

They will follow up by seeking areas for cooperation in a variety of fields to create meaningful and positive impact in cultural cooperation, inter-religious dialogue and understanding, academic and policy expert exchanges, work with universities, high schools and youth groups, and cooperation in fields of athletics, environmental issues and promoting people of determination.

Robert Greenway told Khaleej Times, "Understanding reduces conflict and you can only understand someone you know, so developing those [people-to-people] relationships is incredibly important.

"The Abraham Accords were built on a vision of people-to-people peace between Israel and the nations of the region. Sharaka is playing a very important role in making that vision a reality and we want to work with organsations that are incredibly effective at doing it and help the best we can.

"We will work to help the ideas and concepts spread to each of the Accords member nations and they will continue to developing grassroot connections with the people of all those countries and tell the story of how this is impacting everyday lives," he added.

"The goal is to develop relationships and that will result in all kinds of productive things and make sure the peace established really endures."

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Dr. Majid Al Sarrah said, "The agreement is an extension of the Abraham accords, meant to help spread peace as a model for others to emulate."

He explained, "Today we want to learn about not just Israel, but Jews in general. In the Arab world, there might have not used to be a big understanding of Jewish culture. So we need to understand them better and they also need to understand us."

He said this would help "Dispel the myths between the two sides."

Amit Deri, added, "I believe it's imperative to do what Sharaka is doing to strengthen and expand the Abraham Accords to more countries in the Middle East. It's a first of its kind model in the region of Jews, Arabs, Christians coming together to spread a a very positive message to the world."

Speaking on how the Peace Institute is working to improve Palestinian-Israeli relations, Greenway said, "We are working with all the Abrahamic Accords member nations to develop options that will provide immediate dividend to quality of life for Palestinians. I think this is an opportunity that we hope that they will take advantage of and it opens up new avenues of approach.

"Orgnaisations like Sharaka that are working on the people-to-people exchange has exactly the right approach and hopefully that can be employed to reduce the friction between the Palestinians and Israelis."

Dr. Al Sarrah added, "The main element of this peace model is people. We are trying [Sharaka] to communicate with all sides. We must have a Palestinian side as well and we are trying to get more Palestinian partners at the moment.

“For example Sharaka’s academic cooperations in forums and courses will all include Palestinian contributions as well.”

He added that a two-state solution is the ideal solution as there should be a Palestinian state. "This was clear from the start and the Abrahamic Accords was based on halting the settlements and to ultimately create a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital."


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